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Last month the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the management of the Dunes on three primary grounds:

  • The Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by issuing and relying upon a flawed biological opinion for the threatened Peirson's Milk-vetch, a plant that occurs nowhere else in the US other than the Dunes.
  • BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to address the wilderness qualities of the lands to be opened to ORVs.
  • BLM violated the Clean Air Act and other laws by vastly underestimating the air pollution impacts from its management-primarily dust kicked up by ORVs tires. The Dunes are in an area declared in serious non-attainment for particulate pollution already, and BLM's management of the Dunes contributes significantly to this problem. The District Court upheld defendants' actions on each of these claims. The Court ruled in Plaintiffs' favor on claim related to FWS's failure to issue a recovery plan for the Peirson's Milk-vetch.

The court calendar states that we have until September 8, 2014 to file our answering brief. In the meantime, the CBD is considering a motion for an injunction pending the appeal or a motion to expedite this appeal because of the impending ORV season.

The aSa is working on this issue through our attorney and our EcoLogic Partners. In the meantime, the old closure stakes are still being removed and the new stakes for the Critical Habitat area are being installed.

In addition to the ongoing lawsuit seeking to end open riding at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (OWSVRA), the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition on June 9th seeking the Flat Tailed Horned Lizard be listed as an endangered species. They claim that habitat loss, off-road vehicles and global warming are pushing the species towards extinction.

The petition specifically lists areas such as OWSVRA, Superstition Mountain Open Area, Plaster City Open Area and the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) as habitat areas that have had cumulative impacts due to off-road vehicle use. Furthermore, illegal ORV (Off Road Vehicle) use has been closely monitored. The petition contains several pictures of illegal route proliferation and requests ORV use be prohibited within some or all of the Management Areas. Some of the pictures that were included in the petition have been included below.

Read more: OHV recreation under attack

Stakes removed from the closure area.

For more photos and a full report, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanSandAssociation

Read more: Out go the stakes at Glamis

The following press release has been issued by attorneys who represent the American Sand Association (aSa). Yesterday’s historic ruling by Judge Illston upholds a quality balance between recreation and resource protection in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. The aSa would like to thank the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Court for taking the time to understand the facts and realities of public land management and endangered species protection at the ISDRA. Their diligent and vigilant efforts resulted in this fair and positive outcome.

As we partner with the Bureau of Land Management on an implementation plan, we ask that you continue to stay out of the closed areas until which time the stakes are removed.

  • A copy of yesterday’s decision can be viewed at this link.
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EPIC DECISION PORTENDS NEW BALANCE FOR RE-OPENING DUNES IN GLAMIS

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Recreational visitors observing a fine flaky substance this morning at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) will be pleased to hear it is not snow but judicial manna. Barely a month following argument, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. Northern District Court of California yesterday issued a long-awaited decision on the 2013 ISDRA management plan, ruling almost entirely on the side of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and sand-rider organizations, and against the latest challenge led by the Center for Biological Diversity. The ruling sets the stage for implementation of the 2013 plan, which would allow resumption of access to areas placed off-limits to riders through “interim” closures imposed over a decade ago.

Read more: Court decision will eventually reopen dunes

Friday, February 28th a hearing was held in the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco to hear the cross-motions for summary judgment regarding the ISDRA. The following summary was provided to the aSa from our Attorney Dave Hubbard:

The hearing on the cross-motions for summary judgment went well. Although Judge Illston only gave the parties about 50 minutes total at oral argument, it was clear that she had read the briefs carefully and understood the positions taken by both sides. The judge noted that this case has been on her docket for 13 years and that she is anxious to resolve it. Kevin McCardle - the Dept. of Justice lawyer representing the BLM and USFWS - handled most of the argument for the defense side, which is appropriate. Paul Turcke and I added a few comments, but the court was most interested in hearing from Center for Biological Diversity and Bureau of Land Management. The judge did not indicate when she plans to issue her decision, but I sensed that it would be within the next 45 to 60 days.

We will keep everyone updated as soon as we receive any additional information. In the meantime, we continue to wait.

Feel free to share this information.

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Latest News

OHV recreation under attack

In addition to the ongoing lawsuit seeking to end open riding at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation...

Appeal filed to overturn judge's ruling to reopen dunes

Last month the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals...

Court decision will eventually reopen dunes

The following press release has been issued by attorneys who represent the American Sand Association...

9th Circuit hears ISDRA case

Friday, February 28th a hearing was held in the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco to hear the cross-motions...

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